When someone “gets” it, you can see the effect in them. When bands bust ass, think about the future, and still has fun, that’s “it.”

One of the many bands coming out of Flint, MI this year to play Dirt Fest 2015 is Autumn Coma. This three piece is Jason Arnold, E’tienne Cousineau (Bass/Vocals), and Bradford Lee. E’tienne graciously sat down with us on short notice to talk shop before their rehearsal schedule takes over. Medieval weaponry, dealing withing the industry, and out doing us with a Wilson reference that left us, Stranded, to make a comeback to. Is it Friday yet?

NRR: You guys are from the Flint, MI area and could car pool with all the other bands coming from there! What’s been going on with the band since you played Dirt Fest 2014 in the last year?
E’tienne Cousineau: Last year’s Dirt Fest was an awesome learning experience for us. The festival has a way of kicking us in our asses to be our best. Since playing last year, we have really buckled down and put a lot of work towards a full album that will be released in the near future. We are laying low and building our brand at the moment. When the time is right, we will be releasing a ton of media and material for everyone.

Natiional Rock Review: Interview with Autumn Coma

NRR: Hopefully you guys have a great time on stage this year. Are you looking forward to anything in particular at Dirt Fest 2015 being veterans to the festival?
E’tienne Cousineau: I think we are really just looking forward to performing this year. We have taken a lot of time off from shows to write and reassess our art. The past few weeks have been filled with rigorous rehearsing and tweaking. We hope that our music reaches a lot of people and has some staying impact with those who see us.
NRR: You guys were 2013 Throwdown Band of the Year on Banana 101.5 FM, one of the Dirt Fest‘s great sponsors. What was that like to compete in and win?
E’tienne Cousineau: The Flint Town Throwdown was an awesome outlet for Michigan area bands to compete in and have their music showcased to a large audience. Banana 101.5 has always been very supportive of the local music scene and it was an honor to compete and receive the title of “champs”. We aren’t crazy about contests or putting our art up against anyone else’s, because people’s taste in music and art is so subjective. We competed against so many other amazing bands and artists. Our fans and family really ran with our campaign and lead us to victory.
NRR: What were your experiences like working with Sid Wilson aka DJ Starscream and Matt Dalton as far as seeing a different side of the music game?
E’tienne Cousineau: We were given the opportunity to work with Sid after cutting a track for (Strange Music artist) Prozak. He has an INSANE network of creative people and got in touch with Sid who was all about laying some turntables on the song. Working with people like Sid Wilson and Prozak is definitely a humbling experience. Just being able to see their work ethic and professional demeanor was a lesson that money could never buy. It also taught us that if you want something to happen, figure it out yourself and put in the work. No one will ever hand you anything in this business.

Soon after working with Prozak and Sid, we began working with Matt Dalton. Matt is also an inspiring individual because he is extremely optimistic, multi-talented and able to “wear many different hats”. He’s a producer, engineer, artist, writer, promoter, pizza enthusiast… The list goes on. Matt and I also work together on a lot of Design/Video Production/Branding for Dirt Fest. We have been fortunate to help one another out and create a close business relationship. We are very grateful to have Matt in our corner!

NRR: What are some of your influences musically and have you had a chance to play with any of them on stage?
E’tienne Cousineau: Our influences have always been pretty eclectic, but there are some key groups that overlap for us as a whole. TOOL, Deftones, Alice In Chains and Nine Inch Nails are heavy influences on our style. I think it’s because we were all at an impressionable age when that dark 90’s alternative/experimental stuff started blowing up. We like music that moves you or challenges you to think… I feel like the accessibility of modern technology has killed a lot of that style. I rarely hear bands that have true emotion or soul these days. Musicians and artists need to start pushing boundaries again.
We have been fortunate to share the stage with a lot of awesome bands over the years. Entertainment outlets such as Dirt Fest and The Machine Shop in Flint have provided us with some great opportunities in the past to meet and work with artists who we look up to, and we hope to continue to work with more of our idols in the future.
NRR: What can we expect from the Autumn Coma camp in the coming days after Dirt Fest is but a dream of a metal, angry, sleeping temptress until 2016?
E’tienne Cousineau: Well, with an abundance of new music and media to be released on the horizon, you can expect to see us playing a lot more shows. Putting out merch and music costs money, so we are gonna be working to make sure we cover the expenses of creating tangible art for our listeners and friends. Beyond that, the main objective at this point is creating a monumental full album with Matt Dalton. We are going all-out on this record… A ton of experimental production techniques and even some recording in remote locations. The goal for all of us is to do something uncomfortable and challenging to create a really unique sound. We also have some interesting ideas for our promotional campaign. I can’t give out too much at this point, though.
NRR: Is there a band or bands on this year’s Dirt Fest line-up that you are looking forward to seeing as fans?
E’tienne Cousineau: So many bands this year that we are excited to see. Coal Chamber and Down, obviously. We are all excited about seeing our Flint brethren in King 810. That shit is going to be insane. Deadringer is some great metal, and our drummer will be playing with them on the main stage on Saturday as well. I am personally excited to discover bands that I hadn’t heard of. That’s the awesome thing about Dirt Fest, it is an opportunity for a listener to check out acts that they haven’t heard of or otherwise wouldn’t run into.
NRR: How important is selling merch for you guys at a festival like this? What would you like to sell that may just be a little unfeasible or too costly but still be cool as shit to have on the table?
E’tienne Cousineau: Selling merch is basically the only means of making money for bands now. It is so important to understand that about the music business at this point. Touring and album sales (in a traditional sense) tend to leave a lot of bands broke and butt-hurt. I really believe that the artists taking the business and branding of their music into their own hands is the future of rock, metal, and alternative music. You have to be creative and not be afraid to take on many different roles that normally would be provided by a label. The workload is obviously much greater, but the end result is 100% YOUR product. You are responsible for it, you can do whatever you want with it… and that is the ultimate reward.
If I had the time/money to have anything on our merch table, I would definitely have vinyls, DVDs with live content and music videos, personal artwork from members of the band, and maybe some limited-edition AUTUMN COMA medieval weaponry. Plus our signature barbecue spread: Cajun’ Coma Sauce.
NRR: For anyone that might not have heard your music before, what can they expect to get from your sound on stage being self described as a Rock band?

AUTUMN COMA – Manipura

E’tienne Cousineau: Our sound is designed to take the listener on a ride. That sounds incredibly cheesy, but also the best way that I can describe it. There are sections of trance-inducing atmospherical space-noise, which are accompanied by chaotic, violent rapid hellfire. It slips seamlessly from multi-layered technical arrangements into catchy and accessible hooks and riffs. I guarantee that if you catch our set, it will be unlike anything else you see that day. I hope that those who do see us will leave with that impression, anyway.
NRR: You get washed out to sea while on tour. You see two islands close enough to swim to. You can only go to one until you’re rescued. One has really bad boy band music playing constantly but amazing beautiful women populate the isle. The other has all the alcohol you will need to waste away your days but has banana spiders the size of small dogs. How does it go down for you, (laughing)?
E’tienne Cousineau: I could end up at either one of those islands, it wouldn’t matter. As long as I have my trusty volleyball friend, “Wilson”.

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About The Author

After getting the photo bug in the far, past days of black and white film, Erich continued to develop his eye for photography which lead to stops in the sporting, art, wedding, and eventually concert music worlds. Now, doing more writing for National Rock Review, he has entered into the journey of getting to know the artists and the industry, not just the faces on the other side of the lens.

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